THE SENSELESS SLAUGHTER OF THE BLACK RHINO – Looking at a rhinoceros is like looking back in time at some pre-historic animal. With its staunch body build, wrinkly skin and horns, the black rhino was once abundant and thriving in Africa. Then desire for their horns became popular and as the demand increased, so did the senseless slaughter of this majestic creature. With both the male and female bearing horns, pregnant females are also killed and young calves are left motherless.
Much desired like the ivory elephant tusk, the horns are viciously cut off using saws after the animal has been drugged or shot, either crippling it or causing its death. Even in this, the poachers show no mercy. The remaining portion of the horn which grows under the skin is then dug out. This “extra” portion will be sold specifically to practitioners in China and Hong Kong where they will be made into good luck charms or be ground and used as a powder or converted into tablet form and sold as medicine that is believed to cure a variety of conditions including nosebleeds, fevers, convulsions, strokes, comas and enhance male stamina and fertility. None of these claims have been found to be true, but tradition supersedes science in many cultures.
The following pictures are graphic, but it is said that a picture is worth a thousand words and it is hard to convey the suffering these animals experience at the hands of poachers without the added visualization.
With the horns removed this rhino is left barely alive, and dies within hours.
This rhino was mercifully shot to death before the savage butchery was performed to remove its horns completely.
This rhino was drugged, then hacked and left to die by drowning after the removal of its horns.
This young calf is now left without a mother to protect and raise it.
Do you think this cup is worth the devastation and torture you just saw pictured? Cups like these and ceremnial daggers are fashioned from the horns and purchased by aggressive buyers in the Middle East and the Orient.
With the horn selling typically for $30,000, this is big business. So big in fact that demand has created profitable and organized international poaching criminal syndicates who use available technology including night vision scopes, silenced weapons, darting equipment and helicopters. The rhinos are defenseless and efforts by both the government and world organizations are making progress, but it is slow.
Male rhinos wait until they are 10-12 years old before they mate and female rhinos reach sexual maturity at 4-5 years, but do not have their first calf until they are nearly 7 years old. They can reproduce only every 3-5 years, and the calves begin to wean at about 2 months of age. With a lifespan of about 40-50 years of age, even without intererence from poachers, re-population is a difficult task that will take years.
International trade in rhino horn is banned under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species(CITES) and although some traditional medical practitioners are using alternatives to rhino horn, the demand for horn remains high. To discourage poaching on the conservation parks in Africa, young rhinos have their horns removed and are protected by armed guards 24 hours a day. The fight to save this magnificent animal is far from over and if you would like to join in the efforts being made, please contact:
International Rhino Foundation: http://www.rhinos.org/
The rhinoceros has no natural predator other than man. Man, who is supposed to be the superior species and guardian of the earth.